Wellington, FL – Ten riders and dozens of auditors gathered at the Equus Equestrian Center in Boynton Beach, Florida, on Monday, January 11 for the third annual Horses Healing Hearts Jumping Clinic. Olympic gold medalist Peter Wylde provided a three-session jumping clinic for riders of varying ages and skill levels. Thanks to the generosity of Wylde and clinic sponsors, 100 percent of the proceeds from this event benefited Horses Healing Hearts.

Before introducing the lifetime horseman, who also serves as the Lead Clinician and Vice Chair for the Emerging Athletes Program and Task Force, Olszewski shared some touching stories of HHH children.  She shared why HHH is so instrumental and beneficial to them choosing a different, healthier path than that of their parents.


Horses Healing Hearts founder Liz Olszewski with Olympic gold medalist Peter Wylde. Photo: Jenna Sudol/Phelps Media Group

Wylde then hosted a special question-and-answer session, presented by Lang Realty, in which he and a representative from Cavalor responded to questions from riders and auditors. Wylde captivated the audience by revealing his approaches to performance horse management and general training tips. He attributes the good health of his horses to Cavalor grain and supplements, which has been using for over 14 years.

Wylde also spoke passionately about his role as a Horses Healing Hearts Ambassador. “I’m a big fan of Liz and everything she does. I attended a day at the program, and that sealed the deal for my commitment as an ambassador. The kids are dropped off and they play games and ride and talk about what they’re going through at home. Afterwards, they go back into the clubhouse and talk—that is when it all starts to come out. All of the kids say it is the highlight of their week. There is nothing healthier for these kids. They talk about the horses being their best friends, and it is just beautiful seeing what these horses do for this unique program. It was a great experience and I’ve pledged my allegiance to this amazing organization.”

Theraplate and Circular Wellness presented demonstrations before the riding sessions. When asked about his experience with Theraplate, Wylde responded, “I love the concept of it, and I know people have had very positive results. I’m excited to get one!”


Photo: Jenna Sudol/Phelps Media Group

Riding sessions were limited to four riders per session to ensure the riders received individualized attention specific to their skill level and their horses’ abilities. Riders were encouraged to identify balance and collection on the flat before proceeding to the over fences phase of the clinic.

“To me, you have to smoothly, quietly and patiently develop this beautiful communication with your horse. That way, you can go forward and slow down without having a wrestling match,” Wylde said. He emphasized that without solid and efficient communication on the flat, a rider is unable to excel over fences. “The courses are so difficult nowadays that if you do not have that, you cannot jump clear rounds in a safe and controlled manner.”


Photo: Jenna Sudol/Phelps Media Group

Following extensive flat exercises involving lengthening and collecting while maintaining balance, Wylde coached riders through various sets of gymnastics that continued the theme of collection and balance.

Wylde emphasized that for most horse-and-rider pairs, mastering balance and collection will take time, certainly more than the length of their session. He continued, “What I’m trying to do is demonstrate the idea, and how to achieve it, so that if they don’t get it accomplished during the clinic, they are able to take it home and work on it themselves.”


Photo: Jenna Sudol/Phelps Media Group

Jennifer Hibberd, a second-year Horses Healing Hearts clinic participant, said, “During my clinics with Peter, he has really instilled in me that when it comes to jumping it is not about the height. It’s about how effectively you get to the base and how responsive you are in between fences. Effective flat riding makes for effective over fences riding.” Hibberd was extremely excited at the opportunity to ride for Wylde again. “He is such an excellent motivator. When he speaks to you, you feel like you have every ounce of his attention.”

The Horses Healing Hearts Jumping Clinic was a successful event that  would not have been possible without the generous support of its sponsors, which include Theraplate, Dover Saddlery, Circular Wellness, Accurate Collision, Lang Realty, Horse Ribbon Racks, Visby Products and Cavalor.

Olszewski shared, “Every year the clinic grows, but this year was extremely successful.  Thanks not only to the generosity of Peter [Wylde] and the sponsors, but also the extraordinary effort put forth by Clinic Participant Organizer Waverly Ernst and Clinic Sponsorship Chair Jessica Coates.”


Members of the Horses Healing Hearts Board of Directors present at the clinic including (left to right) Randy Grimes, Jennifer Williams, Dawn Cotler and founder Liz Olszewski. Photo: Jenna Sudol/Phelps Media Group

Horses Healing Hearts is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization which uses horses to helpchildren of alcoholics and substance abuse. To learn more about Horses Healing Hearts or how you can help with donations of money or time, log onto www.hhhusa.org or email Liz Olszewski at liz@hhhusa.org.